Minnesota's emphasis on early literacy supported by CEHD researchers
Early literacy education is receiving the highest priority in Minnesota in an effort to narrow the achievement gap between white and nonwhite students, according to a recent Star Tribune story, "Early literacy gets new focus, funds." Broad support for this initiative, including a $45 million Race to the Top grant from the U.S. Department of Education, is based on significant research and service contributions by CEHD researchers and students, including many associated with the Minnesota Center for Reading Research (MCRR). The MCRR's PRESS partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools, the Minnesota Reading Corps, and Target Corporation is one example featured in the article.
Across the college a commitment to early learning and early literacy is evident by contributions to now well established research on the importance of early brain development and its connection to the critical pre-third-grade years of reading skill development. From ongoing work in the top-rated Institute of Child Development and Center for Early Education and Development to curriculum development and school partnerships created by faculty and staff in the Departments of Educational Psychology and Curriculum and Instruction, CEHD is at the forefront of statewide efforts to improve early education.
One contributor, literacy education professor Deborah Dillon, was recently honored with the 2012 Minnesota Academy of Reading Award for leadership. Dillon notes in the article that literacy education "must go beyond words and definitions to teach students complex ideas" and that it is "absolutely critical we don't let up after third grade."